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Landlords: Key dates in 2020

Keeping on top of the latest legal changes when it comes to landlord and tenant law is crucial – so here’s our guide to some important dates for your diary.

20 March 2020 – human habitation laws extended

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 is extended to new and renewed periodic and secure tenancies from this date. It already covers all tenancies less than seven years in length in both the private and social rented sectors.

This legislation, aimed at improving living conditions for tenants, means all landlords (or agents acting on their behalf) must ensure properties are up to scratch when it comes to factors including freedom from damp, repair, stability and ventilation.

If the property is deemed unfit for human habitation, tenants will have a right under the new act – which amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 – to take landlords to court.

1 April 2020 – EPC rules extended

From 1 April, all residential properties let on existing assured shorthold or fully assured tenancies, regulated tenancies or domestic agricultural tenancies must have a minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) rating of E or above.

Landlords with properties with a lower F or G EPC rating must improve the property rating to E by 1 April to register an exemption and in some cases, will be required to spend up to £3,500 on energy efficient improvements to do so.

  • If your last EPC rating was below an E, you need to get an up-to-date EPC report carried out. If it remains below an E, you will need to carry out enough improvement measures to boost the rating.

1 June 2020- all existing tenancies come under The Tenant Fees Act

From this date, all fees will be banned, no matter when the tenancy agreement was signed, unless they are ‘permitted’ fees.

The cap on tenancy deposits will also apply at this point, except for those in a Statutory Periodic Tenancy originally signed before 1 June 2019.

The Tenant Fees Act 2019, which was written to stop landlords and agents charging tenants unreasonable fees, and not refunding fees in some cases, means:

  • Any deposits in excess of five weeks rent must be partially refunded to tenants;
  • Any provisions in a tenancy agreement, like check out fees, for example, will cease to be valid.

For specialist legal help and advice on this area of the law, and landlord and tenant disputes, please contact Wards Solicitors’ James Murray.

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UPDATE August 2020

Wards Solicitors is open and our teams continue to work on existing cases and take on new business and clients.

From early August, we are pleased to announce that we will slowly be starting to re-open some of our branches to clients, but all appointments must be pre-booked.

Availability for face-to- face meetings in branches will be limited, and remote contact with teams – via phone, email or video call – is preferred wherever possible.  Our prime concern remains the safety of our clients and our staff.

Please note that all visitors to our offices must, by law, wear a face covering.

We cannot accept drop-in appointments.

How to get in touch:

  • Please email or telephone your usual lawyer or team, or
  • Please telephone the branch most convenient to you between 9am and 5:30pm, or email info@wards.uk.com at any time and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

We look forward to hearing from you.  A list of our 11 branches is available here.

Thank you.

Wards Solicitors LLP